Did Oklahoma Pass a Bill Making It Legal to Deny LGBT Adoptions?

Legislation in Oklahoma may make it difficult for gay and lesbian parents to adopt children.

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Oklahoma passed legislation making it legal for agencies to refuse adoptions involving LGBT parents.



On 26 April 2018, LGBTQ Nation published an article reporting that lawmakers in Oklahoma had passed a bill making it legal for adoption agencies to decline to work with prospective parents who might be gay, single, or whose lives otherwise conflicted with the agencies’ “sincerely held religious beliefs”:

The Oklahoma House passed a bill that would allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against parents whose lives violate the “sincerely held religious beliefs” of the agency.

The “Adoption Protection Act” passed the GOP-controlled house in a 60-26 vote. A similar bill has already passed the Oklahoma Senate.

Supporters of the bill stressed that the state’s foster care system is “overloaded.”

While most people would think this is an argument in favor of maximizing the number of available parents to take children in, supporters say that religious agencies will take their ball and go home instead of placing kids in decent homes that violate the agencies’ “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

On 30 April 2018, KWTV reported on the same bill, adding that subsequent amendments prohibited agencies using the clause from receiving state funding:

A controversial bill allowing adoption agencies to turn away parents based on religious or moral reasons is on its way to the Governor’s desk.

Backlash to this measure was swift and nearly immediate. Essentially it allows adoption agencies to turn away would-be parents like gay couples, interfaith couples, and single mothers if they say it’s against their moral convictions.

LGBTQ advocates came out firmly against the bill- the Oklahoma Chapter of GLAAD called it “un-american.”

But … the house passed an amendment saying agencies using that clause on religious or moral obligations cannot receive state funds. Advocates for same-sex couples call the compromise acceptable.

Both articles were about Oklahoma’s S.B. 1140, legislation authored by State Sen. Greg Treat and holding that “no private child-placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”

As of 3 May 2018 versions of S.B. 1140 passed both Oklahoma’s House and Senate. Oklahoma’s governor, Mary Fallin, has not yet indicated whether she will sign the bill into law or veto it.

  • Bollinger, Alex.   “Bill Making It Legal To Ban Gays & Lesbians From Adopting Passes In Oklahoma.”
        LGBTQ Nation.   27 April 2018.

  • Hermes, Grant.   “Controversial Adoption Bill Heads To Governor’s Desk.”
        KWTV.   30 April 2018.

  • Prickett, Austin.   “Organization Calls On Lawmakers To Reject ‘Un-American’ Adoption Bill.”
        KOKH.   11 April 2018.

  • Riley, John.   ” Oklahoma Anti-Gay Adoption Bill Moves Closer To Becoming Law.”
        Metro Weekly.   30 April 2018.

  • Oklahoma State Legislature.   “SB 1140.”
        Accessed 30 April 2018.

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